So often I hear of writers who can’t seem to “get started” on their writing in the morning. They want to do it, but not enough to do it by themselves. But I know of many authors who will get together for short retreats and bang out a chapter or short story on their computers in a few hours. I’ve done it myself.
Very often when we hear of people succumbing to peer pressure, it’s a bad thing. But it can also be a great power for good.
So how can you use peer pressure to your advantage? Try setting some simple goals.
Try renting a cabin or a hotel for a weekend with a couple of writing buddies. Don’t just give yourself permission to write during that time, make sure you spend a couple of mornings writing, and then spend some afternoons critiquing one another’s work.
Join or start a writing group. This can be a group where you just do “sprints” together—writing at a certain time—or you can also do critiques. But make sure that it is a real “writing” group. Make a simple rule: if you don’t produce something, then you can’t come. You don’t want onlookers and bystanders and gossips. Make it clear that every writer in the group is required to produce.
If your group is a critique group, then in your writing group, create a Sargent at Arms who sends text messages to other members a couple of days before your meetings, reminding them that, “Your ten pages are due by the end of the week.” In short, create a little pressure on yourself. If the goal is to write sprints, let you clock be the Sargent at Arms. When it says it’s time to write, everyone writes.
Give yourselves awards for a job well done. For example, at the end of a meeting, applaud those in the group who wrote the most, wrote the most powerful passage, or did something unique and interesting.
Most new writers join critique groups, but have you ever wondered if you’re spending too much time in one? Here are some problems that I’ve noticed. Most critique groups, over time, will morph into social clubs. The authors who join them tend to become friends, and as the months pass, it seems that the authors […]